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The United States House of Representatives

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The Young Elected Leaders Project (YELP) studies and works with young people who run for public office. At its launch in 2002, the project involved constructing a database of young elected officials, conducting a survey and convening a conference of young leaders, and issuing a report entitled Political Generation Next: America’s Young Elected Leaders. Currently, YELP is led by Dr. Elizabeth Matto, Associate Research Professor and Director of Eagleton’s Center for Youth Political Participation, with a team of undergraduate researchers.

Young Elected Leaders (YELs) are individuals, ages 35 or younger, who hold elected public office.

YELP acknowledges and thanks to the Center for American Women & Politics of the Eagleton Institute of Politics for sharing data related to current elected officials.

Table of Contents

  1. Generational Breakdown of the United State House of Representatives
  2. Partisanship of the United States House of Representatives
  3. Gender of the United States House of Representatives
  4. Ethnicity of the United States House of Representatives

 


Generational Breakdown of the United States House of Representatives

  • Millennial Generation: 1981-1998*
  • Generation X: 1965-1980
  • Baby Boom Generation: 1946-1964
  • Silent Generation: 1928-1945

* When appropriate, we include those who were born after 1998 within the “Millenial Generation” percentages (referred to as “Post-Millennial” by Pew Research Center)

YELP follows the generational distinctions used by The Pew Research Center (http://www.pewresearch.org/topics/millennials/)

The Millennial Generation has overtaken the Baby Boom Generation as the largest generation.

Generational Breakdown of the U.S. Population

Source: Pew Research Center, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/07/biggest-share-of-whites-in-u-s-are-boomers-but-for-minority-groups-its-millennials-or-younger/

Generational Breakdown of the U.S. House

Generational Breakdown of the US House of Representatives
Generation Number of Representatives
Millennial Generation 5
Generation-X 117
Baby Boom Generation 270
Silent Generation 42
  • The average age of the US House of Representatives is 57 years old
  • The youngest member is 33 years old (Elise Stefanik)
  • The oldest member is 84 years old (Louise Slaughter)
  • 4 individuals are Young Elected Leaders
    • Elise Stefanik (33) NY
    • Michael Gallagher (33) WI
    • Joseph Hollingsworth III (34) IN
    • Matthew Gaetz (35) FL
  • 5 individuals are from the Millennial Generation

The Baby Boom Generation holds a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, which is disproportional given the fact that the Millennial Generation is larger — in fact, the Millennial Generation is a minority in the U.S. House compared to the other three generations.

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Partisanship of the United States House of Representatives

The United States is a two-party system with the Democrats and Republicans as the two dominant parties. Currently, a plurality of the United States identifies as Democrat while Republicans and Independents comprise the remaining amount.

How does the partisanship breakdown of the U.S. House of Representatives compare with that of the general population?

Party Identification of the U.S. Population

Partisanship by Generation of the US Population

Party Identification by Generation (US population)

Source: Pew Research Center, www.people-press.org/2016/09/13/2016-party-identification-detailed-tables/

*Colin Peterson, Richard Nolan, Timothy Walz, Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum (MN) are identified as Democratic Farmer Labor Party

**All percentages are based on a total of 434 Representatives, which excludes nonvoting members and vacant seats

Party Identification of the U.S. House (1)

 

Partisanship of the US House of Representatives
Party Number of Representatives
Democrat 194
Republican 240

Party Identification of YELs (1)

Partisanship of Young Elected Leaders
Party Affiliation Number of Representatives
Democrat 1
Republican 3
Partisanship by Generation of the US House of Representatives

Party Identification by Generation (House) (1)

Partisanship by Generation
Generation Number of Democrats Number of Republicans
Millennial Generation 1 4
Generation-X 44 73
Baby Boom Generation 118 152
Silent Generation 31 11

Currently, the Republican Party holds a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. This contrasts with the U.S. population where a majority of individuals identify as Democrats. Although a large number of citizens identify as Independent, there are no Independent representatives in the U.S. House. As such, the partisanship breakdown of the US House does not align with the partisanship breakdown of the U.S. population as a whole.

Additionally, the partisanship of YELs leans in favor of the Republican party while the party identification of young people shows that a majority are Democrat while the remaining are a mixture of both Republican and Independent.

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Gender of the United States House of Representatives

Overall, there is a negligible difference between the number of men and women within the United States. Similarly, the breakdown of gender generationally (with the exception of the WWII Generation, which has a slightly larger gap) is almost a 50/50 split.

How does the gender breakdown of the US House of Representatives compared with that of the general population?

Gender of the U.S. Population

Source: 2010 US Census

Gender by Generation of the US Population

Gender of the U.S. Population by Generation

Source: 2010 US Census

Gender of the U.S. House

Gender of the US House of Representatives
Gender Number of Representatives
Men 350
Women 84

Gender of YELs

Gender of Young Elected Leaders
Gender Number of Representatives
Men 3
Women 1
Gender by Generation of the US House of Representatives

Gender of House by Generation

Gender by Generation
Generation Number of Men Number of Women
Millennial Generation 3 2
Generation X 99 18
Baby Boom Generation 222 48
Silent Generation 26 16

Historically, the U.S. House of Representatives has been dominated by men. This appears to be the continuing trend — in contrast to a population that is an almost even split between men and women. As such, there is disjoint between the gender breakdown of the U.S. House and the gender breakdown of the U.S. population as a whole.

Similarly, more than three-fourths of YELs are male, which is not representative of the gender breakdown of young people in which the population of men and women is roughly half and half.

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Ethnicity of the United States House of Representatives

The United States is filled with many different ethnicities and the Millennial generation, as a whole, is indicative of this. Not only is the Millennial Generation currently the largest generation, but it is also the most ethnically diverse.

How does the ethnic breakdown of the U.S. House of Representatives compare to that of the general population?

Ethnicity of the U.S. Population

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010

*The US Census considers race and ethnicity as separate and distinct concepts. Therefore, this graph depicts only the racial composition of the US population. Ethnicity reflects if a person is of Hispanic origin or not.

Ethnicity by Generation of the US Population

Ethnicity of the U.S. Population by Generation

Source: Pew Research Center, www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/03/19/comparing-millennials-to-other-generations/

Ethnicity of the U.S. House

Ethnicity Number of Representatives
Asian/Pacific American 6
Black/African American 45
Native American 0
Hispanic/Latino 33
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0
Other 10
Two or More Races 0
White/Caucasian 340

Ethnicity of YELs

Ethnicity of Young Elected Leaders
Ethnicity Number of Representatives
Asian/Pacific American 0
Black/African American 0
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0
Hispanic/Latino 0
Indian/Native American 0
Other 0
Two or More Races 0
White/Caucasian 4
 
Ethnicity by Generation of the US House of Representatives

Ethnicity of the U.S. House by Generation

 

Ethnicity by Generation
Ethnicity Millennial Generation Generation-X Baby Boom Silent Generation
Asian/Pacific American 0 2 1
Black/African American 0 7 27 11
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0 0 0 0
Hispanic/Latino 0 16 14 3
Indian/Native American 0 0 0 0
Other 0 6 3 0
Two or More Races 0 0 0 0
White/Caucasian 4 85 224 27

While Whites/Caucasians are a majority ethnicity both within the U.S. population and the U.S. House of Representatives, the other ethnic groups are disproportionately represented. As such, the ethnic breakdown of the U.S. House does not mirror the ethnic breakdown of the U.S. population as a whole.

In comparison, a majority of YELs in the US House are Whites/Caucasians with a small percentage being of a minority ethnicity. This is not representative of the ethnic breakdown of the Millennial Generation.

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